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Why not all organic traffic is SEO traffic

The outcome of SEO is the increase of organic traffic. This makes many people turn towards the organic traffic figure whenever they want to measure SEO performance.

But however intuitive, this approach is wrong, and here’s why: not all organic traffic comes from SEO and not all organic traffic can be influenced by SEO efforts. This confusion can significantly alter the accuracy of measuring SEO performance.

The total figure of the organic traffic is composed of both brand and non-brand organic visits, but only the non-brand traffic is the one connected with, and dependent on, search engine optimization.


Therefore, in order to accurately track and measure SEO results, the non-brand traffic data needs to be isolated from the brand traffic, which is just another form of direct traffic. This split is not available in Analytics, where the two types of data are merged together and hidden under the not-provided label.

Due to its algorithm of matching the data in the Analytics and Google Search Console profiles, SEOmonitor segments the organic traffic into brand and non-brand, therefore enabling the accurate measure of the only type of traffic that matters from an SEO perspective, namely the non-brand organic traffic.

At the core, SEO perfomance is measured in Visibility, not in organic visits

Even when non-brand organic traffic is isolated from the total organic traffic, it is still not completely relevant for SEO performance.

If you’d want to measure last week’s SEO performance, the traffic figures alone don’t tell the whole story. Seasonality also heavily impacts the number of non-brand organic visits. This makes it difficult to know if the traffic fluctuation is due to SEO work or due to other trends in the market.

SEO performance is best reflected by Google ranks and SEOmonitor does track the ranks for all your keywords every day on both desktop and mobile. However, ranks are difficult to interpret: keywords weigh differently, according to their search volumes, and gaining 2 rank positions from 14 to 12 is not the same with gaining 2 positions from 3 to 1.


When hundreds or even thousands of keywords are tracked, the task of dealing with keywords individually becomes impossible, hence the need for a global performance indicator, which aggregates all the factors mentioned above into a single metric: the Visibility Score.  Dependent on ranks and search volumes, this metric reflects the impression share on any list of keywords, isolating SEO performance from search seasonality and trends.

Only when the Visibility Score chart is overlapped to the non-brand organic traffic, the SEO results can be correlated with the non-brand traffic figures.


You can find out more about how the brand/non-brand segmentation and how the Visibility Score works by reading some of the articles in our Learning Center:

Additionally you can follow Suganthan’s (SEOmonitor ambassador) SEO tips here.

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